I want to thank you for your prayers for India, and your concern for my family. My family is doing well, by the grace of God. What is happening in India is a catastrophic tragedy. I was planning to visit India in early August, which I have canceled. I needed to go to India to resolve estate issues arising from the death of Archbishop Dominic and Fr. Mathew Vellankal, to carry out the court mandate.
Reports of people struggling to find hospital beds, dying due to lack of oxygen or not being able to procure life-saving drugs have invited legitimate criticism from the national and international press. Grief is a powerful emotion. In Gujarat the sons of a woman who lost the Covid battle tried to set the hospital on fire. In Maharashtra, relatives gathered in anger at a hospital after the death of 7 patients, blaming the doctors for the lack of oxygen supply. There is real fear today. The country is in complete meltdown. The complacency that ‘it doesn’t happen to us’ has finally been pricked.
Amid thousands dying daily of COVID-19, even in rural areas of India, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on church leaders. Dozens of priests, scores of nuns and hundreds of laypeople have died during the second surge since mid-April. Bishop Basil Bhuriya, 65, of Jhabua became the first serving bishop victim of COVID-19 when he died at St. Francis Hospital at Indore the 6th of May. He was ordained a bishop 5 years ago. Retired Archbishop Antony Anandarayar of Pondicherry died May 4 of COVID-19. Close to my own home in India, the Thrissur Archdiocese was stunned when half a dozen retired priests died during the May 1 - 2 weekend of COVID-19.
Please continue to keep our brothers and sisters in India, Sri Lanka and other adjoining countries in your prayer. Thank you so much for your compassion and love. It is always the poor who takes the brunt of every tragedy including this one. They have given up on hospitals and medicine, and left everything in the hands of the Almighty.
Archbishop Cordileone made national and international news when he stated that "those who reject the teaching of the Church on the sanctity of human life and those who do not seek to live in accordance with that teaching should not receive the Eucharist." The archbishop spoke directly to Catholics in public life on this topic, urging them to "please stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil—one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right—is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith. It is not."
Bishop Robert McElroy, in a statement published Wednesday by the Jesuit magazine America, assailed the campaign to exclude Biden and other like-minded Catholic officials from Communion. “It will bring tremendously destructive consequences,” McElroy wrote. “The Eucharist is being weaponized and deployed as a tool in political warfare. This must not happen.”
The differing viewpoints of the two bishops exemplify how divisive this issue can be even among Catholics here and outside. Some of you have spoken to me about how you agree or disagree for various reasons. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican has urged the U.S. bishops to proceed with caution in their discussions about formulating a national policy "to address the situation of Catholics in public office who support legislation allowing abortion, euthanasia or other moral evils."
Cardinal Luis Ladaria, congregational prefect, reiterated that "the effective development of a policy in this area requires that dialogue occurs in two stages: first among the bishops themselves, and then between bishops and Catholic pro-choice politicians within their jurisdictions." The cardinal also suggested the discussion "would best be framed within the broad context of worthiness for the reception of holy Communion on the part of all the faithful, rather than only one category of Catholics, reflecting their obligation to conform their lives to the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ as they prepare to receive the sacrament."
God bless our Church!